SILKSCREEN

Many of us are familiar with the relaxing effects of such activities as knitting, making homemade pizza, or reading a good book. It may seem strange, but the process of silk-screen printing kitchen towels can also relieve nervous tension and induce a feeling of calm and relaxation. We suggest you try your hand at it and learn the art of silk-screen printing.

You might think that screen printing (also called silkography) is an incredibly difficult process, that only specialists armed with special equipment can do. Not true! It turns out that it is possible to create silk-screen prints without any difficulties even at home.

Let’s go over the basics of silk screen printing. In general terms, it looks like this: you coat the grid of the printing plate with light-sensitive ink and let it cure, when the photo emulsion painted surface dries, you place the image to be printed over the ink layer and expose this whole structure under the bright light of the lamps. The stencil mesh overlaid on top of the image will not harden because it is not exposed to light. Therefore, after you have “lit” and dried your printing plate, the unlit photo emulsion of the grid that is underneath the image will wash off easily and simply with water. This image or text area is your stencil pattern. By running the dye paste through it, you get a clear stencil imprint on a t-shirt, bag or kitchen towel.

Anything clear? Not quite? Okay. Let’s try to explain it again. With pictures…

First of all, you need to decide what kind of picture you’d like to get. For our example, we’re going with the silhouette of a Christmas tree. For your first stencil printing experience, we recommend choosing large solid images with no fine lines or details. Images like this Christmas tree or lettering will be perfect for beginners.

Many of us are familiar with the relaxing effects of such activities as knitting, making homemade pizza, or reading a good book. It may seem strange, but the process of silk-screen printing kitchen towels can also relieve nervous tension and induce a feeling of calm and relaxation. We suggest you try your hand at it and learn the art of silk-screen printing.

You might think that screen printing (also called silkography) is an incredibly difficult process, that only specialists armed with special equipment can do. Not true! It turns out that it is possible to create silk-screen prints without any difficulties even at home.

Let’s go over the basics of silk screen printing. In general terms, it looks like this: you coat the grid of the printing plate with light-sensitive ink and let it cure, when the photo emulsion painted surface dries, you place the image to be printed over the ink layer and expose this whole structure under the bright light of the lamps. The stencil mesh overlaid on top of the image will not harden because it is not exposed to light. Therefore, after you have “lit” and dried your printing plate, the unlit photo emulsion of the grid that is underneath the image will wash off easily and simply with water. This image or text area is your stencil pattern. By running the dye paste through it, you get a clear stencil imprint on a t-shirt, bag or kitchen towel.

Anything clear? Not quite? Okay. Let’s try to explain it again. With pictures…

First of all, you need to decide what kind of picture you’d like to get. For our example, we’re going with the silhouette of a Christmas tree. For your first stencil printing experience, we recommend choosing large solid images with no fine lines or details. Images like this Christmas tree or lettering will be perfect for beginners.

You can either print the picture you choose on plain paper and then cut it out neatly, or you can copy the image onto clear paper. Either way, keep in mind that the artwork needs to be LIGHTENABLE. If you are not sure if your stencil is translucent, try looking through it at a bright light source. If the rays of light pass through the image, it will not be translucent enough to produce a quality silkscreen print. If this happens, we recommend printing another copy and overlapping the images, or painting over your sample with a black marker.

Многим из нас знаком расслабляющий эффект от таких занятий, как вязание, приготовление домашней пиццы или чтение хорошей книжки. Возможно это покажется странным, но процесс нанесения шелкотрафаретной печати на кухонные полотенца также способен снять нервное напряжение, вызвать чувство успокоения и релаксации. Предлагаем вам попробовать себя в этом деле, постичь азы искусства создания трафаретной печати.

Ёлка для шелкографии

First stencil drawing

You’ll also need a frame with a fine mesh “silk” mesh stretched over it. Actually, polyester is used as silk. You can get one at specialty stores. Make sure you buy a stenciled polyester mesh with a size “110.

First stencil drawing

You’ll also need a frame with a fine mesh “silk” mesh stretched over it. Actually, polyester is used as silk. You can get one at specialty stores. Make sure you buy a stenciled polyester mesh with a size “110.

Рамка для шелкографии, изготовление

Making the right frame

To pull the fabric over the frame, you can use a regular construction stapler. The material is pulled taut, but not so tight that the fabric spreads where the staples are attached.

Закрепление материала на рамке

Securing the material to the frame with a stapler

After you have stapled the fabric to the frame, trim off any leftover material around the edges.

Изготовление рамки для шелкографии в домашних условиях

Cut off excess material

To keep the paint from bleeding, tape the edges of the frame inside and out. You can use ordinary duct tape for that, but if you don’t want to spend time scraping the leftover duct tape off the surface of the stencil grid, it’s better to buy some special paper adhesive tape at an art supply store and use it.

Закрепление краев рамки лентой

Tape the edges of the frame

Готовая рамка для шелкографии

The picture frame is ready

Now that your stencil form is ready, it’s time to coat it with liquid photo emulsion. This is a special compound that reacts to light. So this step of the work should be done in a darkened room. Leave the grid soaked in photo emulsion there until it dries completely. Attention! The stencil mesh should dry in a completely dark room. If you decide to dry the frame in a closet, make sure there is no light coming in through the door slits.

The photo emulsion usually comes in two parts. It’s a container, which you can see in the photo, and a small bottle with a chemical that you add to the container to activate its contents. Nothing supernatural. Instructions for use are included. And you just need to shake the bottle with the solution vigorously several times.

Photo emulsion is applied with a rubber squeegee. You can use an existing squeegee or buy a new one.

Фотоэмульсия

Photo emulsion. Can be used repeatedly

When in a dark room, apply the photo emulsion to the stencil grid. We recommend that you apply the chemical from top to bottom, carefully coating all areas of the stencil surface.

Нанесение фотоэмульсии на трафаретную сетку

Playing photoemulsion onto a stencil grid

Use the rubber squeegee to apply the emulsion all over the mesh. Try to apply the compound in a good even layer, remember that this type of work should be done carefully and very quickly. After applying the photoemulsion, put the mold in a dark place to dry. The frame should be placed horizontally, not vertically. Depending on the thickness of the layer of emulsion applied, it will take one to three hours to dry.

Нанесение фотоэмульсии

Helping ourselves with a rubber squeegee

While the prepared stencil mesh is drying, you can get busy setting up the exposure area. Technically, you can light your form simply in the sun, but that comes with some risk. The fact is that the frame has to be exposed for a certain amount of time. If you overhold the grid in the light, you won’t be able to wash the photo emulsion off the unlit areas. If you don’t, your image will not be fixed but will wash off the frame along with the uncured photo emulsion.

The best way to expose is to use light from a 150-watt bulb. Usually, the instructions for the photo emulsion specify the UV exposure time for the grid, depending on the size of the grid. The instructions also give information on the optimum distance between the light source and the object to be exposed. Photographic exposure lamps are very convenient for exposure. They are usually equipped with special dome reflectors that help focus the light on the desired area. If you don’t have such a lamp, you can try directing the light with a metal cup or jar with a shiny coating, or you can increase the exposure time of your image a little bit in the light.

In addition, you need a matte black stand on which to place your stencil grid for exposure. You can use an old chalkboard. A black piece of cardboard will work, too.

Экспонирование образца

Exposure with 150W lamp

After the exposure area is prepared, you can start cutting out the silkscreen print patterns on the paper. You can either use a rotary knife to cut the outline of the design or you can use scissors.

Вырезание образца

Cut our sample for the print

When your stencil grid is dry, cover it with a dark cloth to prevent light and place it on the prepared area to expose it.

  1. Place the grid frame on the black matte surface of the stand. With the emulsion surface “facing” the light source.
  2. Place your picture on the grid in the RETURN direction. Hold the picture in your hand, rotate it the way you would like it on your t-shirt, then flip the picture over and place it on the grid of your stencil frame.
  3. Press the image firmly against the grid with a clean piece of clear glass.
  4. Turn on the light source.
Слабый отпечаток картинки, проявившийся на сетке трафарета

Faint imprint of the picture on the stencil grid

Take your frame to the bathroom and rinse under a good head of warm water. Just point the showerhead at the stencil mesh, and you’ll see the outline of the image gradually become clearer and the design brighter as the photo emulsion washes away. You just created your first silkscreen stencil. Impressed?

Промывание

Rinse the frame under running water

Place the t-shirt or any other item you wish to print on in a previously prepared work area that is protected from possible ink splatter.

Подготовка образца

Preparing the t-shirt for the drawing

Place your newly made stencil on the t-shirt. The outer edge of the mesh frame should be in contact with the t-shirt fabric and the rims of the frame should be on top.

Трафарет на образце

Place the stencil on the prepared object

Place the paint at the top of the stencil. In our case, a mixture of black and white paint was used for a deep dark gray hue. Keep in mind that once the paint dries, it will take on a darker hue than when it was painted. Use a rubber scraper to apply the paint to your image. No need to press the squeegee in an attempt to push the paint through the stencil and onto the surface of the fabric.

Выкладывание краски

Laying out the paint mixture

Then, while applying pressure, run the squeegee over the image again in the same direction.

Нанесение краски скребком

Helping ourselves with a scraper

If you press lightly on the squeegee, the resulting stencil will look slightly faded.

Плохо нанесенный рисунок

The result of weak pressure

The more pressure you apply to the squeegee, the richer the printed picture will be.

Удачное нанесение рисунка на футболку

Result of a strong push

Dry the item with the image on it.

Сушка изделие

Drying out our T-shirt

After the print has dried, you need to secure the image by ironing it with a hot iron. The silkscreen print is ready. You’ll agree that silk-screen printing isn’t that hard and the effort it takes to make a print is worth the pleasure it gives you.

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